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The Last Man

The Last Man by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
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The Last Man is an early post-apocalyptic science fiction novel by Mary Shelley, which was first published in 1826. The book tells of a future world that has been ravaged by a plague. The plague gradually kills off all people. Lionel Verney, central character, son of a nobleman who gambled himself into poverty, finds himself immune after being attacked by an infected “negro,” and copes with a civilization that is gradually dying out around him.

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The Last Man

Mary W. Shelley

First edition. Henry Colburn London 1826

VOL. I.

INTRODUCTION.

I VISITED Naples in the year 1818. On the 8th of December of that year, my companion and I crossed the Bay, to visit the antiquities which are scattered on the shores of Baiae. The translucent and shining waters of the calm sea covered fragments of old Roman villas, which were interlaced by sea weed, and received diamond tints from the chequering of the sun beams; the blue and pellucid element was such as Galatea might have skimmed in her car of mother of pearl; or Cleopatra, more fitly than the Nile, have chosen as the path of her magic ship. Though it was winter, the atmosphere seemed more appropriate to early spring; and its genial warmth contributed to inspire those sensations of placid delight, which are the portion of every traveller, as he lingers, loath to quit the tranquil bays and radiant promontories of Baiae.

We visited the so called Elysian Fields and Avernus: and wandered through various ruined temples, baths, and classic spots; at length we entered the gloomy cavern of the Cumaean Sibyl... Continue reading book >>


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